Ad­dic­tion also mat­ter of per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity

Otago Daily Times - - EDITORIAL -

AD­DIC­TION is not solely a health prob­lem.

When il­licit drugs and/or al­co­holism com­pli­cate se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness, char­ac­terised as a dual di­ag­no­sis, ad­dic­tion is rightly con­sid­ered to be a health prob­lem.

To cat­e­gorise ad­dic­tion as a health prob­lem out­side of these pa­ram­e­ters is to deny the role of per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Since we are all en­cour­aged by new em­pha­sis from ad­vo­cates of hu­man rights to ex­er­cise our au­ton­omy, let’s not de­flect the role of in­di­vid­ual agency to di­rect life course within the bounds of egal­i­tar­ian so­ci­ety, with la­bels of dis­ease.

Ad­dic­tion is pri­mar­ily a so­cial prob­lem. It doesn’t de­velop overnight — af­ter one ‘‘snort/ in­jec­tion/in­ges­tion’’. It takes time, de­pend­ing on fre­quency, type and amount of il­licit or pre­scribed sub­stance used.

There is al­ways time to con­sider the wis­dom or oth­er­wise of con­tin­u­ing to evade so­cial vi­cis­si­tudes that could be al­le­vi­ated by con­scious re­flec­tion or ex­ter­nally, by seek­ing help.

Nor is it a solely a crim­i­nal prob­lem, although crim­i­nal­ity can pre­cede as well as fol­low ad­dic­tion.

Obe­sity can be seen as an ad­dic­tion, orig­i­nat­ing as an eva­sion of sel­f­re­straint with ad­verse meta­bolic and car­diac con­se­quences.

An­other term bandied about re­cently, ‘‘men­tal dis­tress’’, is not by def­i­ni­tion a men­tal ill­ness.

Grief, for ex­am­ple, is not a men­tal ill­ness, nor is the acute anx­i­ety that pre­cedes an exam.

To cat­e­gorise all men­tal dis­tress as such is mislead­ing. Do­ing so fos­ters help­less­ness, hope­less­ness and de­pen­dency. Nor is men­tal dis­tress a per­ma­nent, ir­re­me­di­a­ble fea­ture in all phases of se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness.

Cau­tion is vi­tal in pop­u­lar­is­ing terms with­out ap­pre­ci­a­tion that their mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion is dam­ag­ing. Claim­ing vic­tim­hood can be­come an af­flic­tion. V.H. Markham

Dunedin

Cli­mate change

IF some writers think that Richard Tread­gold can’t be re­lied on as an au­thor­ity on cli­mate change, per­haps they would like to type in on Google ‘‘can the IPCC be trusted’’ and take it from there.

It is point­less get­ting into a de­bate about meth­ane or car­bon diox­ide. Do the writers re­ally think that af­ter mil­lions of years of both gases be­ing re­leased to the at­mos­phere, and the so­called green­house ef­fect actually be­ing as bad as claimed, that ei­ther of them would be able to breath oxy­gen by now?

Plus they are both putting CO2 into the at­mos­phere each time they ex­hale so they are part of the claimed prob­lem.

We only ever seem to get one side of sto­ries in that Nasa satel­lite data also shows that snow and ice has in­creased markedly on the east side of the Antarc­tic over the last few years but has that in­ter­est­ing fact been in the New Zealand me­dia?

Ask that Nasa ques­tion on Google as well.

We only seem to be able to read sto­ries that are con­tin­u­ally neg­a­tive in re­la­tion to cli­mate change. A re­cent peer re­viewed sci­en­tific pa­per shows that meth­ane from an­i­mals and hu­mans is hav­ing ab­so­lutely min­i­mal af­fect on the cli­mate. Not the huge im­pact claimed.

That is an­other in­ter­est­ing piece of in­for­ma­tion I have yet to read in the New Zealand me­dia. G. R. Woods

Geral­dine

Jaquiery ge­nius

BIG ups to Stephen Jaquiery for the front page il­lus­tra­tion (ODT, 9.1.19) of the man with the wheel­bar­row, stuffed an­i­mal and woe­ful win­dow dis­play.

He has pro­duced con­sis­tently high qual­ity snaps over many years. This one is a cracker, and a crack up in a creepy kind of way. Steve Thomas

Kar­i­tane

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